Center for Career Development
WHAT IS AN INTERNSHIP?
"An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional workplace setting (across in-person, remote, or hybrid modalities). Internships provide students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience, develop social capital, explore career fields, and make connections in professional fields. In addition, internships serve as a significant recruiting mechanism for employers, providing them with the opportunity to guide and evaluate potential candidates." Read full position statement from National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Benefits of Participating in Internships
Participating in internships offers numerous benefits for college students, providing practical experiences that contribute significantly to your personal and professional development. Some key benefits include:
- Career Exploration: Internships offer insights into specific industries or job roles, helping students to better understand their interests, strengths, and career preferences. This experience often guides them in making more informed career choices.
- Competitive Edge: In today's job market, practical experience can give you a competitive edge. Having completed an internship can make you a more attractive candidate when applying for jobs post-graduation.
- Confidence Building: Successfully completing an internship can boost ones’ confidence, providing a sense of accomplishment and validation of their skills and abilities in a professional setting.
- Hands-on Experience: Internships offer real-world, practical experiences in a specific field or industry. They allow students to apply theoretical knowledge gained in classrooms to actual work scenarios, enhancing their understanding and skills.
- Networking Opportunities: Internships provide exposure to professionals within the industry, allowing students to expand their professional network. Networking can lead to mentorship opportunities, potential job offers, and valuable connections for future career growth.
- Potential Job Offers: According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), historically, 56% of internships lead to full-time job offers. Employers often prefer hiring candidates who have already demonstrated their abilities and fit within the organization during their internship period.
- Professional Development: Exposure to workplace dynamics, office etiquette, and corporate culture during internships helps students develop professionalism, adaptability, and a better understanding of workplace expectations.
- References and Recommendations: Internships often result in strong recommendations or references from supervisors or mentors, which can be valuable assets during job searches or applications to graduate schools.
- Resume Building: Internships add valuable content to a resume, making it more appealing to future employers. They demonstrate practical experience, commitment, and a proactive attitude, setting candidates apart from others.
- Skill Development: Internships help in honing various skills, including technical skills specific to the industry, communication, problem-solving, teamwork, time management, and adaptability. These skills are crucial for career success.
Overall, internships play a vital role in preparing students for their future careers by providing them with practical experiences, skills, and connections that contribute significantly to their professional growth and success.
Types of Internships
Internships come in various forms, catering to different learning objectives, schedules, and industries. Here are several types of internships commonly available to students:
Academic-Based Internships: Some academic programs require students to complete internships for course credit. Students engage in practical work experiences related to their field of study, and their performance is evaluated by the academic institution. Please note that the awarding of academic credits is solely determined by the criteria and regulations established within the academic departments.
Co-op Programs: Cooperative education programs alternate periods of academic study with periods of work experience in related fields. These longer-term programs are often structured and can extend over several semesters.
International Internships: Offered abroad, these internships allow students to gain cross-cultural experiences, learn about global industries, and often require adapting to different work environments and languages.
Micro-Internships: These internships offer short-term, project-based work experience that typically lasts from a few days to a few weeks. These opportunities offer students a chance to gain practical experience by working on specific tasks or projects. Click HERE to learn more about micro-internships via Parker Dewey.
Paid Internships: These internships offer financial compensation to the interns. They are highly sought after as they provide valuable work experience while also providing income to support living expenses.
Research Internships: Commonly found in scientific organizations, laboratories, or research institutions, these internships focus on scientific investigations and experiments. Students may work in fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, or engineering. Click HERE to explore research internships.
Summer Internships: These are internships that take place primarily during the summer break from academic studies, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to the entire summer. They provide intensive work experiences within a shorter timeframe.
Unpaid Internships: These internships do not offer financial compensation but provide valuable hands-on experience and learning opportunities. They are often found in non-profit organizations, government sectors, or smaller companies with limited budgets.
Virtual/Remote Internships: Increasingly popular, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, these internships allow students to work remotely, undertaking tasks and projects without being physically present at the company's office.
Utilize Handshake, the job board for Morgan State, to explore a wide range of opportunities including full-time roles, part-time positions, internships, and co-ops. Enhance your resume and cover letter by utilizing our Resume Tools and conducting research on potential career paths using the "What Can I Do With This Major?" online search tool. Investigate projected job growth and industry trends by referring to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics comprehensive report. Additionally, leverage your network by informing individuals about your quest for new opportunities.
If you haven't received any response from an employer after submitting an application, it's common to follow up to express continued interest and inquire about the status of your application after 2 weeks.
Send a Professional & Polite Follow-Up Email: Craft a concise and professional follow-up email expressing your interest in the position. In the email, mention the specific job title, reiterate your enthusiasm for the opportunity, and politely inquire about the status of your application. Here's an example:
Subject: Inquiry Regarding [Job Title] Application
Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],
I hope this message finds you well. I recently applied for the [Job Title] position at [Company/Organization] and wanted to express my continued interest in the opportunity.
I am enthusiastic about the possibility of contributing to [Company/Organization], and I wanted to inquire if there has been any update regarding the status of my application.
I am looking forward to the possibility of further discussing how my skills align with the needs of your team.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Your Contact Information]
Internships typically last for a shorter duration, often a few weeks to a few months, providing students with practical work experience in a specific field and can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. Co-op programs, on the other hand, are longer and more structured, often extending multiple semesters, integrating academic study with periods of full-time work related to the student's field of study. Co-ops emphasize a deeper engagement with the employer, integrating classroom learning into real-world work experiences, and frequently offer paid work terms.
The Center for Career Development (CCD) facilitates and supports students in seeking academic internships to enhance their educational experiences. It is important to note that the determination of credit-worthiness for internships is governed by the criteria and policies established by individual colleges/schools or academic departments.
While the CCD provides guidance, resources, and support in securing internships, including assisting students in identifying potential opportunities and preparing application materials, the allocation of academic credits for internships is subject to the specific guidelines set forth by the academic units.
The criteria for granting academic credit for internships may include factors such as the nature of the internship, the scope of responsibilities, duration, supervision, reflection assignments, and learning outcomes. Students are advised to consult with their academic advisors or departmental representatives to understand the credit-earning requirements and procedures for internships.
Ultimately, the best time to do an internship varies based on individual preferences, academic progress, and career goals. Starting early and strategically planning internships throughout one’s college years can significantly enhance a student's overall learning experience and readiness for the workforce.
Some students begin as early as their freshman year. This early exposure helps in gaining initial insights into various industries, understanding workplace dynamics, and exploring potential career paths.
While not mandatory, participating in an internship can significantly enhance your academic experience and provide valuable insights into your chosen field. Consider seeking out internship opportunities that align with your interests and career goals, as they can be instrumental in shaping your professional trajectory.
Here are reasons why you might consider doing an internship, even if it's not mandatory:
- Career Exploration
- Competitive Edge
- Hands-on Experience
- Networking Opportunities
- Personal Growth
- Potential Job Offers
- Resume Building
- Skill Development
The Center for Career Development has a team of professionals dedicated to helping students with internships, job searches, resume building, interview preparation, and career guidance. They offer individual appointments, workshops, and online resources to assist students in finding internships.